With Covid-19 in full effect all around the world, our older loved ones are most at risk during this time of unprecedented uncertainty. Staying at home and avoiding crowds of people is necessary to prevent the spread of the disease, but it can also lead to increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Not being allowed to have visitors can take a toll on many residents living in assisted-living homes all over the country. Although visitors are not allowed to physically come and see them, this doesn’t mean that they have to stop connecting with their loved ones all together. Luckily, with the help of technology there are many ways to stay engaged and present in your loved one’s life, even during times of social distancing.
Stay connected virtually with the Family Engagement Program
Waywiser’s Family Engagement Program was created to help assisted living and healthcare facilities improve communication between families and their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program allows family members to communicate with their loved ones via the social communications platform, Slack, by doing everything from sharing photos with each other to updating them on their daily routines. If you want an easy way to stay connected to your family you can learn more about the program here.
If you find yourself wishing you could have a movie night with your older loved one you can’t currently be with, Netflix Party is a web browser extension that allows you to do just that. The extension syncs the video you’re watching and opens a group chat so you can virtually watch with your family or friends.
To use Netflix Party, however, you must have a Netflix account and be using a Chrome browser on a desktop or laptop computer. Whether you want to watch old classics or a recent romantic comedy you can find a variety of options to choose from. Just don’t forget the snacks.
Play your favorite games together online
Many websites allow users to play their favorite card games or board games virtually. For example, on Arkadium.com, you can play a variety of card and board games with others or on your own, and it’s easy to schedule games with other people whether you want to play every day or once a week.
Readeo is a platform that lets older adults have virtual story time with their grandchildren. With more than 150 children’s books you can read over a video chat, it’s a great way for young children and their grandparents to stay virtually connected who live far away from each other, or even for those wishing to connect more frequently with those that live nearby.
Readeo offers two account options: guest and member. As a guest, you’re limited to the book of the month. As a member, you pay $9.99 per month for full library access and unlimited BookChats.
Rediscover the fun of snail mail
Technology offers a lot of ease and efficiency when it comes to communication these days, but communicating the old fashioned way by sending letters or cards through the mail can offer an emotional boost to an older adult. Start a pen pal interview activity where you ask them questions about their life, their favorite memories or achievements. Not only does it engage them through the mail but it also helps deepen your relationship.
If you’re worried about the possibility of exposing senior loved ones to COVID-19 via the mail, the CDC reports the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, but “it is unlikely to be spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.” Additionally, the U.S. Postal Service is taking extra precautions at this time to ensure mail is safe.